Many people suffer from fibromyalgia. In fact, according to WebMD, approximately 5.8 million Americans suffer from fibromyalgia. The condition is characterized by sleep, fatigue, memory, and mood issues, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Sufferers also oftentimes experience irritable bowel syndrome, tension headaches, anxiety, and depression. Researchers are not entirely certain as to what causes fibromyalgia, but it is believed that the condition causes the brain to amplify pain signals.
Since there is not a definitive cause, many of the treatments vary from pain medications, lifestyle changes, including diet changes and exercise, and alternative medicine, including the use of essential oils.
If you have fibromyalgia but haven’t tried them yet, you might be wondering how they can help you and which ones are the best for certain symptoms.
Who is Affected By Fibromyalgia?
According to Women’s Health.Gov, about 80 to 90% of people affected by fibromyalgia are women, although men and children can also be affected by the disease. It’s also unclear why more women are affected than men. Symptoms in most people are usually first noticed in middle age.
Can Certain Events Trigger Flare-Ups?
When people who have fibromyalgia have extra stress, hormonal changes, or when there are changes in the weather, it is more likely that they will experience more symptoms to greater degrees.
Hormonal changes that will affect fibromyalgia symptoms include the onset of a period and pregnancy. Stress, such as the death of a loved one, can also affect symptoms. Also, changes in barometric pressure can also trigger flare-ups.
Causes of fibromyalgia are not definitive, either. Some links to abuse, stress, or physical injury, but in many cases, there is no history of any of these inciting events.
Types of Treatments For Fibromyalgia, Including Essential Oils
There are many different types of treatments for fibromyalgia, including essential oils and other natural remedies.
For people who have not seen results with medications or have experienced adverse side-effects, natural medicine could offer the relief that they are looking for.
According to Dr. Josh Axe, changes in diet, acupuncture, and essential oils can reduce the inflammation that often accompanies other fibromyalgia symptoms.
Among the essential oils that he recommends are chamomile, ylang-ylang, and lavender. There are numerous ways that these essential oils can be applied, including in Epsom salt baths and applied directly to the skin, either by yourself or by a massage therapist.
What Causes Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a disease that has left many medical practitioners and researchers scratching their heads. According to Natural Holistic Health, some research indicates that fibromyalgia is not an auto-immune disorder, instead, it is caused by microplasmas, a type of parasitic bacteria.
How Do Essential Oils Work in Treating Fibromyalgia?
There are a couple of reasons that essential oils are useful in treating fibromyalgia. First of all, many of them have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Since microplasmas and other pathogens are believed to be part of the disease, the antiseptic properties are helpful.
Essential oils are also able to cross the blood-brain barrier, a filtering mechanism in the capillaries that normally blocks many substances.
Essential oils can be absorbed through the skin and through the nose, which is why medicine with essential oils is often called aromatherapy.
What Can Essential Oils Treat?
Essential oils often help with the inflammation associated with fibromyalgia, but they are also useful in helping with the anxiety and depression associated with the disease. They can also help boost the immune system, helping the body to fight off infectious disease.
Essential Oils That Are the Best For Fibromyalgia
Different essential oils have different healing properties for people with fibromyalgia. Some are better as an anti-inflammatory for the joints, while other help with clarity of the mind.
Spike lavender is one of the most-often recommended essential oils for people with fibromyalgia. It is known for being soothing and helpful in treating the pain associated with fibromyalgia. According to Total Wellness Choices, it also has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
Like lavender, rosemary also has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
Peppermint is another essential oil that is commonly recommended in helping relieve symptoms of fibromyalgia. It is often helpful in improving mental clarity and reducing pain.
Sandalwood has many anti-inflammatory and antiseptic benefits. According to Healthline, it also has “sedative and depressive effects on the central nervous system.”
Eucalyptus oil has properties that soothe pain and lower inflammation, while also lowering blood pressure.
Along with the anti-inflammatory properties that so many oils that help with fibromyalgia contain, ginger also has the ability to help with stiffness and muscle spasms.
According to Pain Doctor, Helichrysum is an essential oil that has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidation properties. It decreases swelling and improves circulation. The oil is made by steaming the flowers.
This essential oil helps many people with tension headaches, improves sleep, and reduces anxiety and stress.
Many sufferers of fibromyalgia complain of difficulties with memory and concentration, otherwise termed fibromyalgia fog. Rosemary helps many sufferers by supporting nerve growth and healing.
Essential Oil Recipes
Along with using a single essential oil as a stand-alone treatment, there are also many blends and recipes that are used to help fight the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Balms that contain beeswax, carrier oils, and essential oils can be made for easy application. There are also bath blends that can be made ahead of time and placed in cobalt or amber glass bottles.
If a person is going to take an essential oil out of its original glass container, the oil should always be placed in a container that will protect the oils from light.
Do not place essential oils in plastic containers because the essential oils will eat away at the plastic. Also, essential oils oxidize over time, and correct storage is imperative to maximize their shelf life.
How Should Essential Oils Be Applied?
Essential oils can be applied in a number of different ways. One way is to apply it directly to the skin. This can be either by the patient or someone else. There are also several natural medicine techniques that it can be used in conjunction with. Among these are:
Acupuncture and Acupressure: One of the signs of fibromyalgia is pain all of the body at various pressure points. In fact, one of the most common ways of diagnosing fibromyalgia is by touching the pressure points and finding out how many of those pressure points hurt. This is why acupuncture and acupressure, used in conjunction with aromatherapy techniques, are used.
Massage: Oftentimes, essential oils are applied during a massage. A carrier oil, such as jojoba oil. Carrier oils are oils that both dilute the essential oil and carry the essential oil onto the body.
They are generally vegetable-based, and they make the essential easier to apply to a larger part of the body. Another commonly-used carrier oil is coconut oil.
Why Should Essential Oils Be Diluted Before Being Applied to the Skin?
Essential oils are diluted in a carrier oil before being applied to the skin because many can cause skin irritation if applied directly.
Citrus essential oils, such as lemon and orange, should especially be diluted. Additionally, users should avoid sunlight if they have just applied many citrus oils because they can cause the user to burn more easily.
Applying Essential Oils in a Bath
Essential oils can be absorbed through the skin and respiratory system by using them in a bath with Epsom salts, although the water will greatly dilute the essential oils. One of the benefits of using them in a bath with Epsom salts is that Epsom salt also has healing benefits.
According to How Stuff Works, Epsom salt is rich in magnesium and sulfate, which are minerals that many people are deficient in. Applying essential oils with Epsom salts in a bath is one way to relax and soothe the mind and body.
Using a Diffuser With Essential Oils
Another way to use essential oils is with a diffuser. This is generally not as therapeutic as direct contact with the skin, but it does still allow for some aromatherapeutic benefits.
Fibromyalgia is a disease that is often misunderstood and difficult to treat. Moreover, with all of the treatments available, but with many that prove to be ineffective or actually make symptoms worse, it’s no wonder that many people are turning to holistic medicinal alternatives, such as essential oil therapy.
While it can take some time to find the exact essential oils that will be the most beneficial for each individual person, there are numerous choices when it comes to essential oils, and people can be sure that they will find the combinations that work best for their specific symptoms.
Also, people with fibromyalgia should not be afraid to try several approaches to management of their symptoms.